You registered for lots of beautiful baby bedding — blankets, sheets, pillow cases, and bumpers all decorated with pretty ruffles and adorable baby bunnies. But as lovely as it all may be to look at, you likely learned that adding all of this extra fluff to a baby's crib could have some pretty dangerous consequences. As a vigilant parent, you definitely want to err on the side of caution. But in the back of your mind, you might be wondering if your child is comfortable sleeping without a fluffy sack of feathers. You may have asked yourself when do toddlers start using pillows?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for babies between 1 month and 1 year of age, according to Baby Center. Additionally, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that nearly 1,500 infants died of SIDS in 2014. What is even more alarming is that researchers still haven't been able to determine exactly what caused death in these otherwise healthy babies. In order to reduce the risk of SIDS, most experts recommend parents not use any loose bedding (including pillows) in the baby's crib until age 1, as Today's Parent mentioned.
But for a sleep-deprived parent, creating the ideal sleep environment for your little one is one of your top priorities. You know there's no way in the world you can get a good night's sleep without your favorite pillow positioned perfectly beneath your head, so how can you make sure your child is comfortable and safe at the same time?
According to pediatric sleep expert, Judith Owens, it's best to hold off on introducing a pillow until your child moves from a crib to a toddler bed. But if you decide to give him one earlier, you should stick with one that is small and firm. Pillows stuffed with feathers, Owens mentioned, can cause allergic reactions or even smother your child in his sleep. The folks at the Consumer Products Safety Commission agree. As they mentioned, a pillow can block a baby's airways and cause suffocation.
If you are looking for a more age-appropriate pillow, The Baby Sleep Site pointed out that there are several toddler pillows on the market that are smaller and flatter than the adult version, and are designed to keep kids safe during the night.
So if you're losing sleep about whether or not to let your toddler sleep with a pillow, consider that he's been sleeping (somewhat) soundly for months without one. If you plan to introduce a pillow, be mindful of allergies and other safety issues and choose the best product for your family.